Joel Eriksson pulled off a strategic masterclass to claim a sensational first DTM win at Misano on Sunday night, becoming the second-youngest race winner in the history of the championship.
Competing under floodlights on the DTM’s historic maiden weekend of night racing, Eriksson took a bold gamble to start on slicks on a wet track, but performed a meticulous drive that saw him time his pit stop to perfection and power his way to an emotional victory for BMW in the Italian darkness.
Eriksson took the flag 1.8 seconds ahead of Mercedes’ Edoardo Mortara, with reigning champion René Rast making it all three marques in the top three by completing the podium for Audi.
In another extraordinary development at the end of a heart-stopping wet/dry race, which also featured a safety car period, Italian home hero Alex Zanardi finished fifth in the guest entry BMW.
The win makes Eriksson, 20, the second-youngest DTM race winner in history (after Pascal Wehrlein, who scored his maiden victory at the Lausitzring at the age of 19 in 2014). The Swedish rookie becomes the youngest-ever BMW driver to win in DTM, and the third BMW representative to join victory lane this season, following in the footsteps of Timo Glock and Marco Wittmann.
“Absolutely, absolutely incredible,” Joel Eriksson shouts out. “Since I was a kid, I’ve been dreaming about winning a DTM race, and now I’ve done it. I’m just so proud of us all to have pulled this off in these most difficult of conditions. I’m lost for words and I can’t describe how happy I am right now. Thank you to everyone at BMW for believing in me – I hope this is just the first of many more wins together.”
Eriksson’s victory came in the second of the weekend’s two races in Italy, and followed a 12th place finish in Saturday’s Race 1 where a drive-through penalty shattered hopes of another strong result.
Sunday’s triumph sees Joel Eriksson advance into 12th place in the overall DTM standings. The next races take place on September 7-9 at the Nürburgring.
RESULTS (top five)
DTM | Round 7
1: Paul Di Resta (GBR), Mercedes, 32 laps
2: Robin Frijns (NED), Audi, +1.973s
3: Edoardo Mortara (ITA), Mercedes, +2.144s
4: Loic Duval (FRA), Audi, +2.931s
5: Nico Müller (SUI), Audi, +3.663s
12: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, +44.200s (DT)
2: Edoardo Mortara (ITA), Mercedes, +1.817s
3: René Rast (GER), Audi, +6.493s
4: Robin Frijns (NED), Audi, +16.879s
5: Alex Zanardi (ITA), BMW, +47.316s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
DTM | After 14/20 races
1: Paul Di Resta (GBR), Mercedes, 186 p.
2: Gary Paffett (GBR), Mercedes, 177 p.
3: Edoardo Mortara (ITA), Mercedes, 138 p.
4: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, 112 p.
5: Lucas Auer (AUT), Mercedes, 110 p.
12: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, 52 p.